Champagne Misses Mom So Badly

By Boy Abunda
The Philippine Star
November 3, 2016

chamChampagne Morales and her late mother singer-actress Dinah Dominguez always had a beautiful relationship. They got along well with each other. Dinah was always by the side of Champagne during good times and bad.

Champagne, now happily married to Alf Mendoza and a mom to a one-and-a-half year old Ariana, says that her mom was very supportive. It was Dinah who entertained press people who attended Champagne’s album launches and other events when the latter was still active as a singer-actress.

Dinah knew Champagne always wanted to sing, back when she was still in bobby socks. So Dinah enrolled Champagne in the best theater workshops, like Repertory Philippines and Trumpets. Experts from well-known music schools like the one Ryan “Mr. C” Cayabyab owns, and Yamaha honed Champagne’s singing voice.

Dinah could have just sat back and relax, while seasoned trainors honed her daughter’s skills. But she didn’t.

“She would listen to me practice my songs and tell me how I can improve as a singer. She organized events and let me sing in them so I can hone my craft. She promoted me to all her friends in the industry,” recalls Champagne.

Dinah’s lasting gift to her daughter is confidence.

Champagne admits she wasn’t the belting type of singer. She didn’t believe she could even make it past the auditions for the Metropop Star Search in 1998.

But Dinah would hear nothing of it. She knew her daughter had the makings of a champion. So, she convinced Champagne to try her luck in the singing competition.

True enough, Champagne emerged grand champion with her rendition of Journey to the Past. Champagne was stunned. But not Dinah. She knew her daughter is a born winner.

“I would not have joined if it weren’t for my mom. Praise God for the victory that He gave me in that competition. It definitely helped me have a fantastic career,” gushes Champagne.

Thanks to the contest, big doors of opportunity opened wide for her. She got a recording deal, a regular GMA show, endorsements, live shows, etc. And all that was because she had a mom who believed in her.

Now with her mom gone (Dinah succumbed to heart attack last Oct. 14 at age 59), Champagne can’t help but think of the many things she’ll be missing, so badly.

Questions come one after the other.

“Who will fight for me now? Who will I run to now whenever I am broken?” Champagne asks.

When she’s on stage and Dinah is in the audience, Champagne feels she can do no wrong.

Her strong-willed mother makes Champagne feel she can conquer the world.

She’s still in shock, because she can’t get over visions of those terrible moments when her family, then the doctors tried to revive her beautiful mom.

“Life without my mom is so tough. Now I have to be the stronger one. I can’t believe that life goes on when she’s no longer in it,” laments Champagne.

But she realizes she couldn’t be selfish. She should let go, and let God.

“I know that she (Dinah) is so full of joy and peace in the arms of Jesus. She wouldn’t want me to have any regret at all because she is having the time of her life with the Father,” says Champagne.

Champagne realizes that all she has to do is trust God’s ways, and believe that He has wonderful plans for her and her family.

This puts a smile on Champagne’s face, wiping away her sadness at the thought that she could have done more for her mom while she was still alive.

Champagne also finds comfort in the thought that Ariana made her grandma happy. Did Dinah see another Champagne in Ariana by teaching her how to sing Tomorrow from the hit musical Annie?

Is this why Dinah always reminded Champagne to let Ariana watch Annie?

Champagne will never know. All she knows is her mom prepared her to fight life’s battles.

“She told me to be strong and not to let anyone put me down,” says Champagne.

While she’s doing her best to keep her chin up all the time (“I’m very patient sometimes to a fault’), Champagne cheers herself up by singing The Glory of Love. Dinah always wanted Champagne to sing Bette Midler’s song from the movie Beaches.

Part of the lyrics says, “You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little/until the clouds roll by a little/That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.”

It reminds Champagne that Dinah always wanted her to fight the good fight. And Champagne is paying tribute to her mom by doing so. — With reports from Almed Garcia and Julian Mauricio

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